Inclusion - A small word with a big meaning: BISF achieves record attendance
Posted: Thu, 27 Jun 2019 14:54
The annual Birmingham Inclusive Sports Festival (BISF) offers free, fun and family-friendly 'have-a-go' activities, inspirational stories and a marketplace providing information about inclusive and disability-friendly sports and services across the city.
This year the festival was delivered at the state-of-the-art University of Birmingham Sport & Fitness Centre on Sunday 23rd June 2019.
Over 350 people with varying impairments or health conditions attended alongside a volunteer workforce of forty individuals; health and social care professionals, disabled people's organisations, charities and community groups.
The festival was created back in 2013 in response to concerns that one quarter of Birmingham children and young people are at risk of being left out from the mainstream and one third of adults do not meet the minimum guidelines for being active - through disability, mental health or other needs.
The event is organised by Sport Birmingham and the Disability Sports Forum; a collaboration of local stakeholders who aim to influence policy makers and service providers to take responsibility and work together to promote the lesser-known activities available in the city.
Sport Birmingham ensures the event is co-organised and delivered by individuals with a disability or long-term health condition so the event is as inclusive as possible; meets the needs of the wider community and encourages the most vulnerable in society to take control of their own health and wellbeing.
BISF also provides the opportunity to consult with citizens to better understand what support they need to make sport and physical activity part of their lifestyle and identify ways of making local activities even more inclusive.
A highlight of the day was hearing from 17 year old ambassador and previous BISF participant, Joel Hales Waller. Speaking articulately to audiences, he said:
'Through taking part in sports I have made important friendships, developed confidence, felt a sense of achievement and moved from being socially isolated to feeling part of something bigger. I am very passionate about getting more disabled people involved in sport, but to make inclusion achievable we need more disabled people as visible role models telling others that "regardless of your disability or disadvantage you can do this."'.
Sue, a mother of one the participants, said "The inclusive sport fest event was absolutely fabulous. Jamie and Kori had such an amazing time and tried so many new things. Jamie came away loving being active and feeling safe. Another Mum was quite teary when we left having seeing her son so happy and active. The event left us feeling empowered and inspired."
Natalie Loon, Corporate Parenting Manager at Birmingham Children's Trust – headline sponsors of the festival, said: "It was delightful to see able-bodied young people supporting and encouraging children and young people with disabilities to try out a new sport for the first time and also find out how they can then get involved with that activity on an ongoing basis, such as joining a team or a club. We were also very happy that we had lots of interest in adopting and fostering with us from families who attended BISF 2019."
Mike Chamberlain, Chief Executive of Sport Birmingham, added "With the Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham in 2022 this is the perfect time to profile, showcase and celebrate the range of diverse opportunities for people with any impairment and from all walks of life to be active in the city. There is still much to be done to combat isolation and poor access to social activities for a number of communities, and this is what the festival is designed to address.'
To find out more about inclusive and disability-friendly sport and activities in the city and forthcoming Birmingham Inclusive Sports Festivals, you can visit: www.sportbirmingham.org/disability-sport. Images from the festival can be viewed via the Birmingham Disability Sport Facebook Page.
Notes to editor
- Images and Videos are available from firstname.lastname@example.org
- To discuss this story further contact Amy Bird on 0121 296 5175 or 07774337391
- About Sport Birmingham: a leading local charity driving the growth and development of community sport and physical activity. We are a strategic organisation that works across a wide range of public, charitable and private sector organisations to help address the city's health and social inequalities; providing insight, knowledge and expertise to anyone working towards our vision of a more active city and a healthier place to live, learn, work and play.
- About Disability Sports Forum: The Birmingham Disability Sports Forum group consists of a range of strategic and operational partners, including National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs); disability user-led organisations, specialist charities, sports clubs and community organisations who share best practice in order to improve the opportunities for disabled people in physical activity and sport
- To find out more about adopting or fostering with Birmingham Children's Trust visit: www.birminghamchildrenstrust.co.uk/adoptionandfostering